Ridership gains for January 2012 proved to be remarkable as they set a record for the winter month.
Overall ridership increased by 10.07 percent for January 2012 over January 2011, which puts January 2012 ridership levels at the highest they have ever been for the first month of the year. And calendar year 2011 ended with an overall 6.20 percent increase in ridership (44.6 million passenger trips) over 2010 (42.0 million trips) with express commuter routes showing the greatest growth rate (an increase of 16.25 percent).
This ridership increase can be attributed to VIA's efforts to enhance the bus-riding experience. VIA has introduced new hybrid buses for the express routes, which offer additional amenities including on-board wireless internet access, reclining seats, and overhead storage. The agency also adopted a Code of Conduct for passengers that helps promote the safety, comfort, and convenience riders expect from VIA's services.
More recent increases in ridership can also be attributed to rising fuel prices. In January 2012 the average price of fuel was 26 cents higher than it was last January, convincing more people that riding the bus is a more financially attractive travel option. According to the American Public Transportation Association, households that use transit save an average of $6,251 each year on transportation expenses.
VIA expects ridership growth to persist as fuel prices continue to rise, high quality customer service continues, and as spring approaches.